Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Migraine Man

I had another migraine yesterday.

Last week I had four. Since yesterday was only Monday, it isn't looking good for this week either. Fortunately I have a 'magic' nasal spray--a prescription medicine--that literally cures the headache in about twenty minutes, but they cost five dollars apiece and I have to wait two days for the prescription to be filled every time I run out, so I am hesitant to use them unless absolutely necessary.

To understand what that means, you might have to be a migraine sufferer already. If there is a greater type of pain, I don't know about it, and even though I haven't--and won't thank goodness--have the opportunity to experience childbirth without benefit of an epidural, I can seriously challenge any woman who might think otherwise. Lucky for me, there are plenty of women who've felt both types of pain and they--we--all agree: head hurts most.

Hmmm, most, what does that mean? Well, when you go to the emergency room is some sort of pain--never happened to you? You may quit reading here and go back to heaven.--the doctor will ask you, "How bad,-- a scale from one to ten, where one is no pain at all and ten is the worst pain you've ever felt,--is it? The migraine slides in at a twelve to fifteen. It's so bad that I can't stand up, look at the light, hear a sound, or even drink a sip of cool, cool water because I will throw it up. I might as well drink because I throw up anyway, every ten to twenty minutes, sometimes for hours--as in three to six. If I go more than eight hours I have to go to the emergency room. I've done this twice. That's where they ask you about the pain number and in between heaves, I tell them what they already know: thirteeen.

Having established that the migraine is the worst pain I've ever felt and hope to feel, in all honesty, I will say how happy I am that the magic spray exists, for it has changed my life. This is a claim often made in hyperbole, but here I can safely say that my life is changed--for the better, obviously--by the drug, despite the expense and hassle of getting it and keeping it 'in stock'.

What's been disturbing lately has been the frequency and 'grade' of my headaches. They have become much more frequent, while at the same time becoming less 'violent' or of a lower 'grade'. 

Traditionally I get a migraine in the early hours of the morning, like around four or five. I wake up around six with the beginnings of a headache and if I don't do something then, I'll have a full blown, raging, puking, desperate day. Doing 'something' used to mean eating 2000 miligrams of Tylenol then going back to bed till ten or eleven, but even if I staved off the full blown attack, it still meant staying home from work and staying in bed and close to the bathroom. Still, being semi-disabled was better than the whole nine yards. Often, though, this didn't work, and it was only the introduction of the magic spray that enabled me to actually treat the headache and still go to work an hour later.

Now, however, I find that after I wake up with the headache, it is not so severe as to warrant using spray and the 2000 milligrams of Tylenol manages to keep it from blossoming but does not eliminate it.  So I can function, and even if I am uncomfortable I am not debilitated.

So, despite the discomfort, I am able to get up and go to work, and this past week that has been the pattern.  There are so many triggers for my migraines that it is hard to pin a single one down, but certainly this latest series is linked to the weather and the changes in it this past week. All migraine sufferers know that the weather--especially rain--is a big factor.   It has been unusually dry here in Austin for the past ten months to a year, so I am especially sensitive when we have approaching rain.  Alas, that's all that the rain has done here in Central Texas--it approaches but never arrives--so I've been cursed with a balloon head without being blessed by water falling from the sky.

I shouldn't be complaining since I am no longer a complete prisoner of my head, but I do wish I could get through a single week without dealing with it.  That's not too much to ask, is it?

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